THE MEASURE OF MY GAIT (redux)

But for my body’s vibrancy

Lost from age

I feel better and better, now in my tranquil maturity

A tree grows high and wide with time

I know heights, now, placid in age

I never knew in youth, when I was figuring it all out

 

And I’ve got a handle on how things work better, now in my tranquil maturity

Better than in my excited youth

The world and I sync better

Than my fits to plug into a system I wasn’t fit to engage

In my early becoming adult

 

So many questions I faced unaware

When to argue

When to articulate a novel thought to stand out before my teachers

The battle to be self at school or workplace—alienation—enforcing conformity

That moment when my professor said I’d better start thinking about a different profession

provoked by my Marxist critique of Wordsworth’s IDIOT BOY

 

I really don’t know why I don’t fight anymore

Or why I used to

Or why I was never happy no matter where I lived: Ohio, Boston, Charlottesville, Florida

And my contentment, indeed happiness, now in Edmonton

 

And of the things I no longer let bother me:

Other people disagreeing with me

Things I have to get done by yesterday

Whether people like me

Traffic, specifically tailgaters

I haven’t time nor energy nor inclination to disturb

My peace

The breadth of my awareness

Expanded and expands still from youth’s constrictions

 

Knowing largely the way it was always done, then,

At home, hometown, Sunday School

Plain, innocent, not knowing things

I remember questioning the merits of my professor’s USC degree, me knowing only UCLA

 

Making judgments in these facile these days

The young’s flash and intensity of passion

Have calmed, calming me, contenting my present

 

There was that time when it all lay in front of me

So much to master, to conquer

Most of it’s past now

The challenges I’ve conquered, arts mastered to such as one may

I’ve laid my foundation, a good one

Upon which I stand, build, have built, refine, expand

I burst the bonds that have constrained my heart

As my soul breathes free, breaks free

 

The future doesn’t beckon anymore

Though I continue leisurely progress in cognition, will, behavior, refinement

Sensibility, sensitivity, sentiment, solidarity

I read now as much as talk

And today, W. H. Auden moved my sensibility, sense, cognition towards where I wasn’t before

And today I’m closer to the time when I’ll die

I ponder whether I’ll die well,

Studying to live well

 

My measured gait is not due to decrepitude

 

I carry the weight of my awareness,

Thoughts, contentedness, purpose, perceptions

Measuring my stride through life

Looking back, down from olding heights,

From the altitude afforded by maturing,

On who I was, what I was, how I did what I did

The mysterious ascending current flowing toward my future

Inhabiting my present, my pacific contentment my ever-evolving mentation

And I will die well

QUESTIONS OF THE PITUITARY GLAND

What is appropriate in the young makes

What is not appropriate in later years appropriate for them

Ages of life pay their dues to time

Is it the body that counts age and appropriates ideals?

Makes youth intense and mellows age?

Questions of the pituitary gland

Maybe the body ticks time, but can it spawn behaviors?

Mentation, personality, development

Growth hormones dictate our humanity like the lives the three Moerae fated for all humans

Spinning the threads of who we will be

Tied up in bounds of determinism by the pituitary gland

 

Falstaff and Hal foreshadowing the youthful madcap role I played

In and out of the schoolbooks and classes, such a trope humanity scripted it in Elizabethan drama

Learning lessons of acquiescence in middle-age to gods that held my fate

Metamorphosis of the reading lists of my professors into bosses’ memos

Become pliant, compliant, indeed, obedient, to the machine I used to rage against

I wouldn’t say it was glandular as much as pecuniary forces

That forced me to slog through time in middling age

Chasing my dreams off the ambitious clock

Bouncing through relationships until one remains as if all along it was fate

 

And now, in arm-chair reflections of it all I ask questions of stories

The storied stages of humanity’s ageless morphology

The taxonomy of the human condition

Authored by us as one glimpse of the whole in the likes of Erikson, the psychologist—

Even the corpus of humanity’s iterations writ large upon our world literature

And I, a person, a representative man, following the trajectories as it seems to me are possible

Narrations of the human genome

YOUTH, AGE, DEATH

I’m not sure the way to think about death

Is to think about death

Mine will be around 30 years or so, likely

Some do not know 30 lived years yet

And to them, now, as it was to me, then, 30 years is a long time

But when your life is twice thirty plus

And 30 years ago means an ethics class on Charles Taylor at the University of Virginia

Vivid in the aging memory

Death is nearer

I say the young should not think about death

But revel in the animée of youth

Nor should anyone think about death

I believe we all should revel in animée

In age you mine the memory for what matters

Looking back over time, so many lives lived

Parent, child, sibling, friend, partner,

Student, apprentice, employee, employer, creator, maker, volunteer

So many ideologies following

Family values, local customs, blindly following the herd,

Breaking free of local customs, assimilating to new traditions

Ethical options adopted, opted for

Spirituality, religion, evolving principles of justice, righteousness

Age has much to sift through, choose, assent to, reject

Evaluating a life lived long

Choosing how to use life in remaining years

Anticipating life, how to live, live well, time that remains well

In remaining years, in future years

Possible eternity outside time and years and then where is death?

Options

Opting for a good life, life lived well, the good life, optimize

Exorcized ghosts of island martinis and beers past

Cast-off pass-times, past times, distractions, dreams of fame, cheering mobs, irascible passions

How to live, live well, care well

Caring for values that ground being

Ground of Being

And it is enough to be

Animée

Youth, age, death

AMBITION’S AMBIGUITY IN AGE

I’m not sure I know

 

How to about whether I can

Assert this point’s possible ambiguity

 

Things upon aging looking back

 

Ambitions to attain a name

Good job be important get ahead all the way to the top

 

Mystical experiences recast matters

 

I recall the litany I told the cabbie

Of failed attainments I felt entitled to by cheated life

 

Myself a failure disappointment and life half done things undone

 

Is it mysticism?  Workplace satisfaction?  Found love?

Olding?  That fuels my contentment

 

The whole question of ambition

 

Where’d that come from?!  How widespread in humanity

Nascent?  Acquired?  Self-imposed?  My grandmother?

 

My recasting of what I thought were failed attainments

 

In my age I realize that Swedenborg’s values were inscribed in maturity

For maturity?  And where would the world be without ambition in the younger

 

In my mind I distill a modicum of peak importances

 

And my failed ambitions fade into a fractured joke

And in my age I now understand Swedenborg’s values as mine

BEING AND EXISTENCE

Activism isn’t the sole truth

Being and existence

Existential issues of the day matter

The human being Being persists through the day

From days past, centuries, millennia

Gilgamesh is past present

Issues of the aged transcend

Queer theory, eco-justice, prison reform

Existential issues of the day matter

In my day was Vietnam, peace, love, Woodstock

Where are they now?

And I, from then, where am I now?

As I compose, now, death and/or afterlife verses

Transcendence of the moment, of existential issues

Old friendships over decades, new love of one decade

Recasting time, reconsidering decades

Considering the time I have left

ONE NIGHT STAND

A realization has been clarifying

Surfacing amid currents of incubation

From which my truths and convictions

Emerge, fix, and enlighten my ways

 

Living feels increasingly like

The experience of a one-night stand

So many—perhaps all—of my enjoyments

Lack permanence, will depart; will leave me bereft

 

Five years adjusting—enjoying—a life in a new city

Friendships I made, vocational commitments

Departing to another new city

Making friends, vocational commitments

 

And even persisting in one place a long time

Businesses grow, downsize, lay off

Long-established establishments adjust

To the market’s demands, aging demographics

 

When a person is young, time feels long

One year is like an eternity

And few things change in one year

So it looks like things will always be

 

But with the perspective of many years

And the witness of businesses, clubs, and restaurants that close

Friends who move away, get terminally sick

One sees that happiness is subject to fortune

 

And so one takes the pleasure that the moment affords

Knowing that it may end precipitously

And that enjoyment may be over

Yet one partakes in full, aware that it is fleeting

Awake to its transitory nature

Courageously enjoying, not denying

What happiness a given situation affords

LEAVES OF REMEMBRANCE

The scattered leaves almost covered the evening’s brick paving

As we walked from one empty bar to the next

Where years ago I spent college nights

Drinking, joking, and performing on some Thursdays

After the day’s classes, coursework, researching, and writing

A chapter in my life, revisited walking through these empty bars

An old friend, children now all moved out

Recalling our band, friendship, bridging a 25 years’ gap

Filled with occupations and roles now like the fallen leaves

With which the season is done, released from their work in the season past

Me an alum living thousands of miles and decades away

He stayed, still plays, teaches

The woodwork of the bars still the same,

The ceramic mosai-esque tiles on the floor the same,

And the same, the dark, stained, aged hardwood floors

The young bartender didn’t know the owner’s name, a sometimes friend,

If he still owns it, as in those days when I used to come

When I was closer to the bartenders’ and waitresses’ age

Than my years which commanded an unexpected respect from them

In this place and generation no longer mine but in remembrance

THE MEASURE OF MY GAIT

But for one skill set

Bitterly lost from medical causes

But for my body’s vibrancy

Lost from age

I feel better and better in time’s passing

An ancient tree grows high and wide

I know heights, now

I never knew in youth

The breadth of my awareness

Expanded and expands still from youth’s constrictions

The young’s flash and intensity of passion

Have calmed, calming me, contenting my present

My measured gait is not due to decrepitude

I carry the weight of my awareness,

Thoughts, contentedness, purpose, perceptions

Measuring my stride through life

Enraptured in the valley-view of my past

The mysterious ascending current flowing toward my future

In the present’s contented, open mentation

LEARNING TO OUTGROW LIFE HERE

Although age slags and weakens my body

Though my agility, flexibility grow heavy and stiff

My soul grows, grows light, fills with light

Enlightenment matters more than matter

Wisdom—age’s donation to

This deteriorating flesh—

Grows as powers fail and hours fill

With matters other than those of the body

Other realms than matter suggest

Youth’s vibrant spirit

Returning in other realms when

This matter has had enough and spirit matters

My purpose here fulfilled

My soul outgrown this flesh and bone

This mortal community, camaraderie

As age passes on its lessons

Learning to outgrow life here

AN UNEASY GENERATION GAP

I could be his grandfather

So a peer relationship is likely not in the mix

Yet his expertise surpasses my own

An expertise I need

Technology

The bane of the aged

The bond of the ages

Generating the collaboration which is the extent of our bond

He declined money

Our signifiers differ significantly

So collaboration and my interest in the youth world

From the perspective of my so different world

So different signifiers

His life ahead of him, much of mine behind me

My crippling need of his expertise, coupled with his self-confidence

Technology

Will collaboration serve for a peer relationship

Our mutual interests

Our alliance uneasy

Our uneasy generation gap

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